THE NATIONAL Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has cried foul over Petra Diamonds’s declaration of a dispute with the union after it refused to get involved in a retrenchment process. “Helam mine declared a dispute against the NUM to force us to agree with their retrenchment process. NUM will never agree,” Lekhotla Mabea, the chief negotiator at the mine, said yesterday. The union was also opposed to the mine’s application for additional mining rights in the Swartruggens area of the North West. Petra said it was talking with employee representatives, which might result in putting the operation on care and maintenance. “The company will provide an update once this process has completed,” a spokesperson said yesterday. – Dineo Faku